Tacos Tonight!

VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE and so are tacos. SPICY! AYE-E-E-E !!!!I This Taco Recipe gets you to Flavor Town. Colonel Sanders is not the only one with a secret recipe….My special spices will make you come back for more! I am sharing my secret taco recipe here at Simply Splendid Food with you. Friends have said it’s the best tacos they have E-V-E-R had! Would you agree?

Tacos are fast to prepare. A traditional Mexican dish.

Tacos and an ice cold beer in a frosty mug is a Taco Marriage.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 lb ground meat
  • 1/2 lb. ground pork or veal
  • 1 1/2 tsp. fresh rosemary, about one sprig
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 10 pods cardamon
  • 2 tbsp. chili powder + more if needed, after mixing all ingredients
  • Pinch of salt (pink or sea salt with added iodine) and pepper to taste.
    • good salt makes a difference. Irish salt is one of the best tasting salt.
  • 1 – 2 medium cooking onion -diced
  • 3 garlic cloves -minced
  • 1 – 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 10 medium flour tortillas
This is the Black Granite Mortar and Pestle I use today: heavy duty. My first Marble M&P is very good too!

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Grind and mix your spices together (except salt and pepper) using a mortar and pestle
  • Heat onions and rosemary in oil until translucent.
  • Add your spices. Mix for 10 seconds longer. Add fresh garlic.
  • Add ground meat and blend in the onions and spices until meat is brown.
  • Add salt and pepper after meat has been browned.
  • Take a nose test and smell your mixture. If you need more chili powder add more. I added about 1/2 tsp ground chili flakes.
  • OPTIONAL: Add heat: Red pepper flakes ( a sprinkle ) or fresh Mexican green chili. You can add diced, raw jalapeño peppers in the mix in the end (with or without seeds). The seeds are the heat. No additional cooking.
  • TIP: Place tortilla/taco in toaster to warm up. Hint: Gently fold over the tortilla and insert into a toaster slot.
  • SUBSTITUTE: For a hearty wrap use burrito wraps or lettuce wrap.

Toppings

  • Diced tomatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Sour cream
  • Cheddar cheese: shredded or diced
  • Optional: Add home made refried bean paste to the base of a tortilla [ or burrito – I use both wraps]
  • EXTRA ZIP: add diced jalapeño or banana peppers. You choose your heat!
SOFT TACO: Take Charge Of Your Life …61 Calories At A Time
HARD TACO: Toasty Crunch YUM-M_M_M !
Burrito Wrap and Lettuce Wrap Works!

SERVING TIPS

This recipe can be refrigerated 3-4 days for another meal -> a fast, healthy lunch or dinner. To serve again pop your tacos in the toaster. Heat up a portion of meat in the microwave oven. Assemble your taco as you like it. I still had about 1/3 cup of taco mix after a few more meals. I added my mix as a topping to a four cheese pizza I purchased ‘on sale’ at the grocery store. I also added sliced kumato tomatoes. Ready in 12 minutes! YUM-M-M!

Make as much spicy seasoning as you want. You know what’s in it and no preservatives! A time saver for tacos for another day!

Home Made Tacos

I found a great site today for homemade tacos. Click here . When you ‘Download” the recipe, Terrie includes a page on Tips For Success. What I learned the hard way!” This is wonderful! I have ordered my Masa Harina online and will enjoy turning another new page in my culinary journey.

Pizza with Spinach and Sun Dried Tomatoes

THIN CRUST SPINACH & SUN DRIED TOMATOES PIZZA has become a staple in our home. Guilt-free pizza with only 1 g of carbs per slice. Lots of protein and full of flavor!
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INGREDIENTS
2 tablespoon Olive Oil
2 large clove of Garlic (Minced)
1 Prepared Thin Pizza Crust (12 Inch )
5 ounces of Spinach (Fresh and organic)
1/4 cup of Sun Dried Tomatoes (Re-hydrated ), cut in thin strips
4 ounces crumbled Feta Cheese
Ground Black Pepper (To Taste)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1.  Heat oven to 450 degrees and place pizza pan pan or stone in the oven to heat.  Use the middle rack. Steam sun dried tomatoes to hydrate. They should be ready after you have built the rest of the pizza.
  2. Heat Oil in a large skillet. Add garlic and cook on low for 1 minute (do not brown)
  3. Add spinach and season with pepper. Cover and cook stirring once – just until spinach is wilted.
  4. Top pizza crust with spinach and pan juices. Sprinkle on sun dried tomatoes and cheese
  5. Make a circle from your parchment and place the pizza and parchment on your hot pizza pan or pizza stone. Bake in  preheated oven ( 450 Degrees oven )  for 8-10 minutes



SUN DRIED TOMATOES
Trending sun dried tomatoes! How do I sun dry my own tomatoes – in the oven? please click here. My home made sun dried tomatoes not only have a dollar savings but it does not include any preservatives and is only handled by myself. Note: You do not need to add herbs when drying your tomatoes.

This is part of our theme on PLANT BASED DIETS. Lots of flavour and healthy goodness. I hope you enjoy our pizza.
BON APPETITE!
Some kids don’t like garlic. This can be omitted as you know.

Tamarind and Chick Peas

9🎶  THREE’S  THE  CHARM  🎶  
(1) TAMARIND (2) SPINACH (3) CHICK PEAS
I had this dish years ago, without all the spices and was not impressed.  The spices in this recipe enhance the key flavour of  the tamarind.  Surprisingly, the 3 jalapeño peppers are not hot in this dish.  An EASY 30 MINUTE meal packed with protein and flavour.  Leftovers makes a great lunch at the office!  Another  winner!


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INGREDIENTS

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp nigella seeds
1½ tsp fennel seeds  ( or  anise seeds)
1 medium onion ( chopped )
400 g can chopped tomatoes (san marzano)
3 green jalaeño peppers, seeded and cut into quarter lengths
2-3 tsp monk fruit sweetener ( or stevia, truvia, etc. )
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp turmeric
410 g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1-2 tbsp tamarind paste ( adjust to taste )
1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
half a 250g/9oz bag of organic baby spinach leaves
Serving suggestion:  natural yogurt and chapatis

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Heat the oil in a saucepan. Fry the nigella and fennel seeds for about 10 second. Add the onion and cook gently for 8-10 minutes until golden.

2. Mix in the tomatoes,  jalapeños,  sweetener ( Monk fruit ), paprika, turmeric and  chickpeas. Bring to a boil,  then simmer for 10 minutes.  Make sure your dish is stew-like; not too dry. Add water if needed.

3. Stir in the tamarind and coriander. ( (You need to do a taste test here. Add more tamerind to get  that tamerind sweet and sour flavour).  Add the spinach leaves and stir gently until they’ve just wilted. You can serve as a main course with yogurt and chapatis or as a side dish.

Tamarind paste

Tamarind Paste

Tamarind Chick Peas

Tamarind and Chick Peas

COOKING TIP:  Before starting to cook, do all your chopping and rinse out the chick peas. Check your spice rack to make sure you have all your spices  measured and placed in  small dishes. ahead of time. This “mise en place”  technique makes cooking time much faster.

WARNING: Do not buy tamarind without reading the ingredients on the label. I bought tamarind in a bottle at the grocery store. I neglected to read the label as I was in a hurry. The main ingredient was syrup. Tamarind was the fourth ingredient! I was disappointed. Do not accept substitutes or a bogus spice seller that claims to be tamarind. Without ‘true’ tamarind, this recipe is so – so. I soaked my tamerind block in water  took the seeds out and ladled the liquid into the dish. ( About 1 cup ) The difference was like night and day.

DID YOU KNOW? The recipe for WORCESTERSHIRE Sauce contains tamarind?  The one ingredient that sets Worcestershire sauce apart  is tamarind  fruit. The sweetness in this fruit  is balanced by its high content of acid, giving it that sweet-sour taste.

TAMARIND is a condiment, a spice and a fruit. Its extract, which tastes deliciously tangy, is one of the most highly valued foods in Asian and Indian cuisine. ( Origin: Africa )

TAMARIND contains an impressive amount of essential minerals such as thiamine, iron, magnesium and phosphorus. Some of its other prominent nutrients include niacin, calcium, vitamin C, copper, fiber and pyridoxine.

Tamarind treats both constipation and diarrhea naturally by increasing the effectiveness of the digestive tract.  Tamarind has long been considered a natural laxative.  It stimulates your metabolism and also keeps your digestive system strong and improves blood circulation. Good for weight loss. Boost your immune system. Also, it has anti-inflammatory properties.

Tamarind Pods and Beverage

Forbidden Black Rice Salad

Black Rice was once “only” enjoyed by the Emperor and his royal court. It was forbidden for the commoners to eat this exquisite black rice. The tender, nutty flavoured rice is presumed to enrich one’s life and promote longevity.rice3 After I brought my chilled rice salad to the office,  I noticed that all the staff made it the following week!  It travels well and is a great picnic salad.  A refreshing change from your typical summer salads.
I researched and tried out several versions but this recipe from the Bon Appétit June 2012 needs no improvement. black rice salad photo provided by Jason Lowe, Bon Appétit

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BLACK RICE SALAD – WITH MANGO AND NUTS
INGREDIENTS
2 oranges
1/4 cup or more fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional)
2 cups black rice
Kosher salt
2 just-ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted, cut into 1/2″dice
1 cup finely fresh cilantro leaves
1 cup finely chopped red onion (about 1/2 large onion)
1/2 cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts or unsalted cashews or other nuts
6 scallions, thinly sliced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded, minced
black-rice-ingredients
INSTRUCTIONS
1 ) Remove peel and white pith from oranges.
2 ) Working over a medium bowl to catch juices and using a small sharp knife, cut between membranes to release orange segments into bowl. Squeeze membranes over bow to release any juices. Strain juices through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl; reserve orange segments.
3 ) Add 1/4 cup lime juice, oil, and fish sauce (if using) to bowl with orange juice; whisk to blend.
4 ) Set dressing aside.
5 ) Bring rice and 2 and 3/4 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Season lightly with salt. Cover, Reduce heat to low and simmer until all liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 25 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let stand, covered for 15 minutes.
6 ) Spread out rice on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with dressing and season lightly with salt; let cool.
7 ) Place mangoes and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Add rice and toss gently to combine.
8 ) Season lightly with salt and more lime juice if desired.
Serves: 6–8

didyouknowDID YOU KNOW?
While whole grain brown rice and red rice also contain beneficial antioxidants; only black rice contains special variety of antioxidants known as anthocyanin antioxidants. (Thus the dark purple colour -like blueberries)  Additionally, black rice also contains an important antioxidant – Vitamin E, which is useful in maintaining eye, skin, and immune health in addition to other important functions. Forbidden Black Rice contains 18 amino acids (same as Aloe Vera), iron, zinc, copper, carotene, and fiber. Mangos are #1 ~ the most popular fruit in the world.

black-rice

Emperor’s Dining Room

In ancient times, Emperors reserved this wonderful black rice for their own consumption because it was thought that it would extend their lives. Black rice does provide many health benefits that the western world is now embracing with gusto.  It helps fight against heart disease, cancer, and diabetes with high amount of flavanoid phytonutrients and protects heart health (plaque formation). Herbalists use black rice as a prevention and treatment for ailments and as a blood tonifier. 

Black Rice was also considered to be somewhat of an aphrodisiac at one time.  I suspect the Emperors down throughout the ages shared their black rice stock with their consorts or concubines.

Heirloom Forbidden Black rice is a strain from Indonesian Rice.

Heirloom Forbidden Black rice is a strain from Indonesian Black Rice. photo provided by Spikenard and Myrrh

Black Rice is surely ‘one of the’… if not ‘the most’ special variety of rice that is cultivated today. Its special, near medicinal values is truly stunning, even today with all of our medical knowledge and tools. Every time you sit down to enjoy a few servings of this awesome super food, you can remind yourself that you are eating something that was once reserved for royalty. If a commoner was caught eating this rice it was “off with their heads”.

VARIATIONS
If you are trying to find something else to do with your avocados, my friend Monique from Ambitious Kitchen added avocado to her black rice salad. It is a nice touch and goes well. Instead of unsalted peanuts (Bon Appétit version), I used cashews while Monique added almonds to her salad. If you have the time and patience, roasted pecans would be wonderful too.
avocado-mango-blackrice-salad

Another gluten-free recipe that is filled with flavour , colour and the YUM-Factor!

kids32BACK TO SCHOOL LUNCH!
A light touch: For milder flavour, use leeks instead of red onion and yellow or red bell peppers instead of jalapeno peppers. Forget the nuts (allergies)  if you like.  Substitute other herbs for the cilantro. e.g. parsley, basil, fresh mint, fresh-soft rosemary (my favorite) or even peppery rocket lettuce. Know what your kids like to eat. I would even test out fresh oregano in this ‘forbidden’ black rice salad.  COLLEGE KIDS: Add a smidgen of fresh pressed garlic ~ to boost the immune system.  If it is not fresh I would not use the herbs. The dried herbs taste different. They have flavour, but are better suited in baking and cooking.

Y-U-M-M      Y-U-M-M-M!

15 minute ~Summer Pudding

RED SKY AT NIGHT SAILORS DELIGHT!
Celebrate summer evenings with beautiful golden red sunsets enjoying abundant fresh fruit with my favorite SUMMER PUDDING!
Red_black_currantsWhen I saw red and black currants at the market, I was immediately inspired to make my favourite dessert.  I am not a big fan of desserts in general.  But,  I love my summer pudding!  You can use a combination of almost any berries that are available. There is so much fresh fruit  this time of year.  Our window of opportunity to make this healthy dessert is here now!
Imagine a dessert packed with super foods!

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RECIPE
3/4 cup Raspberries
3/4 cup red currents
3/4 cup blueberries
1 1/2 cups black currents (or red currents)
3/4 cups sweetener (i.e. zylitol, stevia)
1/4 cup of water
8 fairly thick slices of dense white bread, crusts removed
whipping cream (optional)
summer-pudding_ingredients3
INSTRUCTIONS
1. Remove stems and wash fruit, add with sugar into a pan +plus 1/4 cup of water
2. Cover and cook gently for 5-7 minutes or until currents are tender
3. Drain off the juice and reserve 1/3 cup [ 75 ml.]
4. Line a 1 quart (1 liter pudding basin or Charlotte mold ) container with plastic wrap so that the pudding will be easily removed from the mold.
5. Place some of the bread slices, cutting the slices to fit into basin exactly
6. Spoon in the fruit and packing it in well
7. Pour in the reserved juice
8. Place the remaining bread on top of the fruit
9. Place a plate small enough to rest on the pudding itself
10. Place your heaviest weight or water in a plastic container on the plate
Leave the pudding overnight in the refrigerator or a very cold place.
Serve with whipped cream, custard sauce, or cream if desired.
Serves 4-6 people
VARIATIONS
Alternatively if you cannot find currants substitute strawberries and or raspberries and add lemon juice to get the tangy flavour of currants. Loganberry or blackberry can be substituted for blueberries.

SINGLE SERVINGS
For single servings, make individual portions by using large ramekins. Use the ramekin to cut out the piece(s) of bread.  Place  one circle of bread on the bottom. Fill with the fruit compote  and top the ramekin with another piece of bread if you like (optional).  A fruit sandwich!  You can line a soup tin with saran wrap and make a 3 -layer tall single serving ~super size it!  When you begin, place the bottom of the saran lined tin on a small plate starting with the bread on the bottom. Use whatever you have handy. You do not have to get the exact container that is mentioned in the recipe. The possibilities are endless.

Single Serving Summer Pudding

Single Serving Summer Pudding


HAT2FOOD TIP
Use sourdough bread for this summer pudding. The hypoglycemic index is much lower in sour dough bread than any other white bread. You will not have a hypoglycemic episode after eating sour dough bread. Dense white bread may require more liquid. Keep the extra liquid in the frig. When you unmold the pudding–fill in the missed (white) spots with the juice. I found that additional liquid was needed.
didyouknowDID YOU KNOW?
Research shows that the common or garden black currant is more nutritious than other fruits ~ from home-grown apples and strawberries to tropical mangoes and bananas.
Black currants also contain the highest levels of health-boosting antioxidants – natural compounds credited with the ability to stave off a range of illnesses from heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes. Since the middle ages, herbalists used black currents to treat bladder stones, liver disorders and coughs. A black current cordial was given free to children during the Second World War in Europe.  Black currents are popular in European countries.
SUPER FRUIT
All berries have numerous health benefits but if you can find black currants, you will have the number one super fruit.

Dried Black Currents No Additives

Heart Smart

DRIED BLACK CURRENTS
You can buy dried black currents and use them in the Summer Sunset Pudding. I found this wonderful site that processed and packaged dried currents in Washington, on the Pacific Coast of U.S.A, Better they are shipped to your door not your store. The flavour is outstanding.  Here is the link–> nwwildfoods.com

Simply Splendid Summer Pudding (used Charlotte mold)!

Simply Splendid Summer Pudding (used Charlotte mold)!